Amino Acids for the Sustainable Production of Cu2O Materials: Effects on Morphology and Photocatalytic Reactivity

Catherine J. Munro, Elise C. Bell, Mary O. Olagunju, Joshua L. Cohn, Elsayed M. Zahran, Leonidas G. Bachas, Marc R. Knecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Photocatalytic technologies represent intriguing approaches for long-term environmental remediation strategies; however, approaches to sustainably generate the catalytic materials remain limited. Many methods require the use of toxic surfactants and potentially harsh conditions. As an alternative, bioinspired approaches present pathways toward the production of functional structures under ambient conditions. In this contribution, the effects of amino acids in the low-temperature production of Cu2O-based materials is examined, providing first principle information for the eventual de novo design of peptides that can control the structure/function relationship of these inorganic materials. These studies demonstrate that only a fraction of the 20 canonical amino acids (Arg, Cys, Glu, His, Lys, and Trp) possess specific control over the morphology and size of Cu2O materials during the synthetic process. This level of control is shown to directly affect the photocatalytic activity of the materials for the degradation of model organic pollutants. Taken together, these results provide intriguing new directions for the rational design of sustainable synthetic approaches for the production of catalytically important semiconductor metal oxide materials applied to long-term environmental remediation capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17055-17064
Number of pages10
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 21 2019


  • Amino acid
  • CuO
  • Photocatalytic degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


Dive into the research topics of 'Amino Acids for the Sustainable Production of Cu<sub>2</sub>O Materials: Effects on Morphology and Photocatalytic Reactivity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this